IUDs (intrauterine devices) have become all the rage thanks in large part to our Prez.  In fact, a new athenahealth studydeveloped in collaboration with, shows a nearly 19% increase after the presidential election of 2016 in the number of doctor's visits related to IUDs.  While their popularity may be skyrocketing, IUDs have actually been around since the 1960s. And today, if you are fortunate enough to have access, you actually have different types of IUDs to choose from.  Here is our breakdown.


Skyla is a hormonal IUD, containing a small dose of progestin.  This hormone causes changes in your cervical mucus and uterine lining, making it harder for sperm to reach the uterus and harder for a fertilized egg to attach to the uterus.  It is made of plastic. 

  • Lasts for up to 3 years
  • Slightly smaller, and lower-dose than Mirena
  • Specially tested for those who are younger or haven't had kids yet (because the shape of the cervix changes post-birth)
  • According to Bedsider, your chances of your period going away after one year is 6%

Check their website to learn of safety concerns. 


Mirena works similarly to Skyla.  It has been on the market the longest (since 2001)

  • Contains a higher dose of hormones than Skyla
  • Lasts up to 5 years (though some studies say 6 years)
  • According to Bedsider, if you are getting an IUD for heavy and painful periods, or to ease endometriosis symptoms, this is the one reco'd
  • You bleed least on this IUD⠀
  • According to Bedsider, your chances of your period going away after one year is 20% 

Check their website to learn of safety concerns. 

A group of Mirena users (and by group, we mean over 1,000 people) filed lawsuits against Bayer, the drug's maker. It is worth reading some articles about these lawsuits- like this one.


Paraguard is the only current brand of non-hormonal birth control. It is made of plastic and copper- which interferes with sperm movement and egg fertilization. 

  • It lasts for up to 10 years (though some studies say 12 years)
  • You still cycle with Paraguard, but most people have heavier, longer, or crampier periods, especially for the first few months...and some people report continued irregular periods. So while it may not be directly hormonally interfering, it can still alter your cycle in this way.⠀
  • According to Planned Parenthood, “Paraguard works super well as emergency contraception. If you get it put in within 120 hours (5 days) after unprotected sex, it’s more than 99.9% effective. It’s actually the most effective way to prevent pregnancy after sex.”  This being said, getting an IUD is a big decision, so if you are in this position, really think it through before resorting to this over Plan B.

Check their website to learn of safety concerns. 



  • Dosage falls between Skyla and Mirena 
  • Lasts for 5 years
  • According to Bedsider, your chances of your period going away after one year is 12%

Check their website to learn of safety concerns. 


  • Similar to Mirena
  • According to Bedsider, is the most affordable option  
  • Lasts up to 4 years

Check their website to learn of safety concerns. 


  • Your cycle is being directly affected, so the bleeding that does occur isn't your true period
  • Because they are affecting your hormones, it can cloud the root cause of some ailments and make it harder to understand where your imbalances may lie and why⠀
  • All options are made by Bayer Pharmaceuticals


  • You must go to a clinician to get all IUDs inserted and removed. This is a type of birth control you don’t get direct control over.
  • Many report that it HURTS to get it. And remove it. Bring a friend or partner. 
  • Always discuss potential side effects against your personal health history with your clinician.
  • Placement is key.  Ensure it stays in the right place by periodically checking for the strings. 
  • Do you have a tilted uterus? This can make a difference in IUD insertion. Ask your provider. 
  • While people talk about the IUD like it’s no big thang, remember, you are putting hormones and/or a foreign substance into your body. Pay attention to how you are feeling physically and emotionally and don’t be afraid to go back to your practitioner if something doesn’t feel right. You know your body best.
  • While in the U.S these are the only IUDs available, there are many others on the market outside of the U.S This is a great article on what's up. Read it. 


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